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Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mobile Society: Is it really more mobile today?

I wonder if my ancestors moved as much as I do.  Seems I move every five years or so for my spouses job. I am between places of employment so this is the perfect time to do some more research and the history of travel from 1800-1900 is going to be my focus. I am aware it is faster to relocate today than it was 200 years ago, but swiftness didn't appear to a factor in migration. Who doesn't dream of carving out their own place in the woods or mountains?

My ancestors lived in New York in the 1700s but they didn't stay there.  As the West opened up they loaded up their belongings and moved West. Some stopped in Ohio and others moved on West into Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.  One spent a brief time in Iowa, between censuses of course so I cannot track him. 

I can only imagine the weeks or months of preparation.  The head of the household would often go first and find the place to build a home. After some time had passed he would go back and bring his family along. Sometimes the son ventured west with friends or business associates. All of them were looking for new opportunities. 

The hardships my ancestors endured on there sojourn is something I can only conjure up in my imagination. I didn't have to load a covered wagon, hitch the team and drive for days to arrive in my new destination city. No one died along the way or suffered illnesses. I didn't have to gather firewood, build a fire or cook a meal along the trail. I certainly didn't have to live on hard tack and soup.

I plan to plot on a map the route that each of my ancestors may have taken to arrive at their ultimate destinations. I have purchased tiny colored dots that I plan to use to designate each surname. I will need to research what common trails of their day existed and also consider they may have traveled by river part of the way. I know from census records when and where my ancestors were in a particular location. So I have points to plot on the map, I need to figure out the route they took. The National Parks System is a good place to begin. Here is a map of the historical trails. I have found or down loaded many county histories for the places my ancestors lived. I think I am well prepared for this journey. 

In America most of my ancestors settled in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. The boundaries changed as new states were formed so I need to plot their location and see if they moved or if the boundary changed; county and state boundaries evolved over time as land was added or taken away by Congress.

This should be an interesting endeavor!

 

 




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